Napoleon is best remembered as a bold decisive and innovative general who won battles and wars by resorting to novel methods of warfare. He is also remembered for the Napoleonic Code that was introduced to France and Europe that was the basis for good govenence. He became the Emperor of France, his armies occupied vast areas in Europe but he died as an exile, aged 51,after losing the Waterloo Battle.
The biography of Napoleon teaches us many positive traits, but a careful reading shows us his faults, of which all of us should be careful about.Following are the faults I learnt from the life of Napoleon,but are presented in a positive vein,as pitfalls we should avoid.
1. Control your ambition.
One has to be mindful of not only about the WHAT? But more so about the WHY? Of every endeavour and action. That is, one should carefully consider why one wants something achieved and more importantly, to know when to be satisfied with acquiring of wealth,positions and fame,to mention a few such goals.
2. Over-confidence is dangerous
We often lament about the lack of confidence in many. But, being over-confident is more dangerous and counter-productive. This over-confidence comes when a person achieves a continuous string of successes and thereafter gets the feeling that he is “invincible” or infallible” or that al decisions he take are “correct,” and hence he is beyond making mistakes.
3. Be careful of making unnecessary enemies
One has to choose enemies wisely,and should not antagonize people(or countries or organizations) without good reason.
5. Know when to cut your losses when necessary
Never let ego or pride to get in the way of logic and reason.Stop and end any action that seems to be unnecessary or unsuccessful. Do not pursue it for the sake of “saving face” against good judgement or good reasoning.
6. Do not provide opportunities for others to unite against you. This is the second worst thing to happen after making unwanted enemies. That is, doing or embarking on activities that will compel the enemies and other by-standers to take a united stand against you.
7. Make sufficient contingency planning before a risky venture
Anything that could go wrong can go wrong, hence it is absolutely vital that you plan for any contingency or unexpected problems that may happen along the way.Do not anticipate that everything would work according to your plan.Think of possible problems before they happen and take appropriate measures.
Jagath Gunawardana Attorney-at-law